By Christopher Z. Hobson (auth.)
Against the backdrop of Britain's underground 18th and early-19th century gay tradition, mob persecutions, and executions of homosexuals, Hobson exhibits how Blake's hatred of sexual and non secular hypocrisy and nation repression, and his innovative social imaginative and prescient, led him steadily to just accept homosexuality as an essential component of human sexuality. within the technique, Blake rejected the antihomosexual bias of British radical culture, revised his idealization of competitive male heterosexuality and his male-centered view of gender, and subtle his perception of the cooperative commonwealth.
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Extra info for Blake and Homosexuality
Most of the few direct references to homosexuality in Blake's early work are consistent with the poetics of masculinity as outlined so far: They treat the subject satirically, show some anxiety about it, or subsume it to male heterosexuality in a tutelary role, permissively but dismissively. On the last page of the 1784 manuscript satire known as '~ Island in the Moon," 9 for instance, one character remarks, "[N]ow I think we should do as much good as we can when we are at Mr Femality's" (£465).
Proverbs 22-24, for example, present implicitly male virtues-pride, lust, wrath-as God's blessings, each linked to an appropriate male beast: peacock, goat, lion. , the aspect that provides sexual attractiveness for males. Other proverbs involve implied gender roles (proverb 30), replicate the gendered division between humanity and nature (68), or associate excess and containment with tacitly gendered images (fountain and cistern35). " The overall idea here, probably, is the rightness and prerogative of "energy" (the plow); the worm's response may reflect acceptance of this prerogative or its own abjectness, or both.
And when Night Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. Witness the Streets of Sodom, and that night In Gibeah, when the hospitable door Expos'd a Matron to avoid worse rape. (PL 1:497-98, 500-505) In this version of the stories of Sodom and Gibeah, Milton includes and conflates two interpretive traditions. One identified the relevant sin as the violation of hospitality ("the hospitable door"), the other as homosexual conduct. While he draws on both, Milton's emphasis is on the "worse rape" (because homosexual) averted by exposing the Gibeah visitor's concubine, and implied as the Sodomites' intention.
Blake and Homosexuality by Christopher Z. Hobson (auth.)